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Sunday, August 19 2018

NFL Predictions 2013: Week 3



Another week in the books, and another uneven performance from me, but it’s early. I was 10-6 straight up (21-11 overall) and while it could have been better at least I stayed in double digits. I made up for last week against the spread by going 11-5 (16-15-1 overall) so that was good. I gave some away on the over under by going 7-9 though (19-13 overall).



Kansas City (2-0) @ Philadelphia (1-1): The NFL Network knew what they were doing by getting Andy Reid’s return to the city of brotherly love. Chip Kelly might share his pudgy face, but he is definitely not his brother. His offense has already clicked twice for 30-plus points. Now they get a pretty good defense fresh off stifling the Cowboys.


I liked the Chiefs coming into the season, picking them to go 7-9 and admitting I would not be surprised to see more wins. I had the Eagles 8-8. There are probably plenty of people who would have had these teams worse. This meeting is going to tell us quite a bit about both sides. Kansas City can make a serious statement by winning. At 3-0 it’s not a lock to make the playoffs, but you are pretty much in the hunt deep into the season barring a collapse.


For Philly, it’s another chance to showcase the offense in primetime and prove last week’s failure to close will not be a trend. They have the options on offense to negate what the Chiefs do on defense, and speed is the key. Kansas City’s more conservative attack is likely to try playing keep away. It doesn’t work. The way to beat this team is by putting up a bunch of points, and Alex Smith isn’t ready to do what Philip Rivers did last week just yet: Philadelphia 28, Kansas City 24 (PHI -3/over 50.5)


Arizona (1-1) @ New Orleans (2-0): The Cards are a different team on the road, and the same goes for the Saints in their dome. At least Arizona has faced the noise already this season, losing 27-24 two weeks ago in St. Louis. New Orleans returns home after an ugly, weather-delayed 16-14 win at Tampa Bay. Mostly, the difference between winning and losing is razor thin in the NFL and these teams know it having play four games with all of them being decided by no more than 4 points.


Right off the bat I like New Orleans because of Drew Brees. Arizona is better with Carson Palmer, but I keep waiting for him to commit the crucial turnover. The Saints have improved a lot on defense, stunningly so, and they are ready to put their offense in positions to capitalize with touchdowns. Sevens add up in close games. I see more threes for the visitors who don’t have enough beyond Larry Fitzgerald to keep up here: New Orleans 24, Arizona 16 (NO -7/under 49)


Green Bay (1-1) @ Cincinnati (1-1): These are two serious contenders and barring a tie one of them is going to be facing an uphill battle after another tough loss to a good team. The Bengals got their running game going with a rookie while the Packers lost their rookie rusher and ran it well anyway. Cincinnati has a great front line so this week so this week it’s going to be on Aaron Rodgers, but he has multiple weapons in the passing game. Andy Dalton has to start winning games like this against elite quarterbacks if he ever wants to be considered in that class.


I have this one very close because I believe limited Rodgers to the pass and hassling him with a rush is the way to beat him. The Bengals have the personnel to get that done. On the flip side, the Packers are not a stout defense and so the home team will have opportunities to move up and down the field. In a squeaker I still like Rodgers to pull out this win, but it won’t be easy: Green Bay 26, Cincinnati 24 (CIN +3/over 48.5)


St. Louis (1-1) @ Dallas (1-1): Week 3 is a time for teams to head in one direction or the other, and this can be a statement game on either side. The Cowboys thought they had their swagger after opening with a win over the hated Giants, but lost in by falling at the Chiefs last week. The Rams are coming off a great season inside the NFC West (4-1-1) wanting to prove they can win outside the division. Instead they opened with a divisional win and then lost at the Falcons.


I’m looking for the offenses to open up a bit here. St. Louis has not shown much on defense thus far, giving up 55 points in two games. Dallas has a tendency to let teams stay in games with them as opposed to blowing them out. I favor the Cowboys because of their offense against a suspect defense. Tony Romo can get his team ahead here and force Sam Bradford into a passing mode to catch up. Neither offense has too much of a running game so I expect a lot of incompletions and plenty of possessions. When the dust settles, the veteran quarterback wins: Dallas 27, St. Louis 24 (STL +4/over 47)


Cleveland (0-2) @ Minnesota (0-2): This is just what the doctor ordered for the Vikings if they hope to make another playoff run. The Browns are down a quarterback and just traded away their best offensive weapon in the form of running back Trent Richardson. Minnesota’s defense is primed to deliver a knockout blow in the dome and get their team in the win column.


The defense for Cleveland is nasty, so this won’t be too big of a runaway. It’s just a matter of how long they play hard for, knowing the offense can’t do a thing. Adrian Peterson is going to be going at them for 60 minutes and will be handed the ball as often as it takes to get the job done. Christian Ponder just needs to protect the ball and make a few throws in key spots. It’s really just that simple, and they should win by double digits: Minnesota 20, Cleveland 9 (MIN -6/under 41)


San Diego (1-1) @ Tennessee (1-1): Here are a pair of mildly surprising teams no one though much of heading into the season yet one of them looks to exit the week at 2-1. The Titans have a quarterback problem to be sure, and conversely it seems like once again Philip Rivers is “on” so the Chargers don’t have that same issue. Chris Johnson seems like just a name these days in the running game, as opposed to his CJ2K history. He can’t take enough pressure off Jake Locker and the passing game.


Rivers is off to a hot start, but he will be cooled down by this defense on the road. I know he just got it done in Philly. This feels different to me, almost like the Chargers are in for a trap. I think defense is the order of the day and I’m struggling to pick them even with the much better quarterback in a close game. I will because that is how my programming works: San Diego 17, Tennessee 16 (SD +3/under 44)


Tampa Bay (0-2) @ New England (2-0): As I said earlier, close games are the norm in the NFL and quite frankly the records of these teams could be reversed very easily. However, that doesn’t mean the Pats aren’t a lot better than the Bucs. This league comes down to coaching and quarterback play and therefore is a huge mismatch on paper. It has the makings to be wipeout.


In actuality I think it is close because Tampa Bay has the personnel to severely limit Tom Brady’s crippled offense. If New England had all their toys it would be a different story. Instead, the Patriots need to be patient and chip away for an ugly victory. Josh Freeman is playing for his career at this point and Greg Schiano is coaching for his (in the NFL at least). Their desperation is worth something, and keeps this game reasonably close: New England 24, Tampa Bay 14 (NE -7/under 44)


Detroit (1-1) @ Washington (0-2): It’s now or never for the Redskins and they know it. The Lions are without their offensive spark, Reggie Bush, or at least it looks that way. They are also weakened by playing outdoors and are facing a desperate opponent, so the odds are stacking up against them. Washington got caught in the opener by an offense no one had seen in the NFL, losing to the Eagles. Then Aaron Rodgers and the Packers creamed them. They are far from finished.


I look for Mike Shanahan to remain calm, keep running Alfred Morris and for Robert Griffin III to continue shaking off the rust. Their offense is going to be okay. Detroit wants this game, but predicting them to win when I don’t know if Bush will play is just not wise. The Lions are limited on offense without him because Joquie Bell is a straight-forward back, so they fall short: Washington 24, Detroit 20 (WAS +0/under 49)


NY Giants (0-2) @ Carolina (0-2): This is it for both teams if they want to remain in contention for playoff spots in the NFC. I know the East is a dumpster fire right now, but 0-3 is still a bad spot to be in. It’s a worse spot for the Panthers because of the presence of the Falcons and Saints. They really choked in Buffalo last week. The Giants simply lost to a couple good teams, and that happens.


Emotionally, I don’t see New York coming out flat when their head coach just lost his brother in a freak accident. They are going to put it on the line for him. Carolina is a solid, feisty opponent. The Panthers can play defense and have a little bit of offense. There aren’t enough threats for them to take the next step. I look for Eli Manning to protect the ball this week as opposed to his multiple interception performances the past two weeks. That’s the difference in getting them a win: NY Giants 20, Carolina 17 (NYG +1/under 47)


Houston (2-0) @ Baltimore (1-1): Ray Rice looks like he is out for this one, and that’s big. Bernard Pierce is a good player, but that’s just one more piece this championship team is missing from the roster that played in the Super Bowl. The Texans are kind of fluttering if you ask me. They had to rally for wins against the Chargers and Titans who are not contending teams. Now they hit the road again having already been to California and are coming off an OT game. Conversely the Ravens opened their year on a Thursday and got a couple extra days to recover.


For me this game is about respect. Baltimore is still the champion. Houston wants to get there and this could be a statement win for them. Joe Flacco is going to be under pressure here with limited offensive options and having to deal with J.J. Watt. Matt Schaub has the superior support system here. Something tells me the intangibles turn the tide. I like the team that has been there to rally without Rice and muscle out a key win: Baltimore 19, Houston 17 (BAL +3/under 45)


Atlanta (1-1) @ Miami (2-0): The best receivers are hurt in this one. It looks like the Dolphins are without Mike Wallace while the Falcons might not have Roddy White and Julio Jones. In a case like this I really turn to the quarterback and running back to see which offense is going to suffer. The visitors bring a veteran at both positions with the home team having youth. Weather is going to be sketchy too, so this could be a defensive struggle with a lot of rushing.


Steven Jackson has been waiting his whole career for a chance to be on a winner and if they need to lean on him he will be there for the Falcons. Lamar Miller is ready to explode if the holes can be opened up. I like both the defenses and expect this game to be tight throughout. Matt Ryan is Matty Ice, but on the road things change. I have a tough time expecting them to win here in these elements if they aren’t at full strength. It feels like time for the Dolphins to assert themselves: Miami 20, Atlanta 19 (ATL +3/under 44.5)


Buffalo (1-1) @ NY Jets (1-1): AFC East battles are hard to project. The Jets are well rested coming off a Thursday night game. The Bills come in confident off a win and home field isn’t all that much of an advantage because of the short trip. It’s a battle of rookie quarterbacks and that drives up the fun factor. E.J. Manuel was taken first and I’m certain Geno Smith wants to prove his new division rivals wrong for passing on him. Does he really have the personnel on offense to do it though?


C.J. Spiller’s slow start probably ends here. He’s the most dynamic offensive weapon in this game. I like Buffalo to build on last week’s win while New York’s time off probably didn’t help them too much. The only thing it did was give the media more time to question how long Rex Ryan will have a job. Expect a lot of defense, and the team with the better running back wins: Buffalo 20, NY Jets 16 (BUF +3/under 38.5)


Indianapolis (1-1) @ San Francisco (1-1): This is clearly the Andrew Luck Bowl as he returns to the area where he played college at Stanford for current 49er coach Jim Harbaugh. A lot of that has been overshadowed by the arrest of pass rusher Aldon Smith late in the week and the shocking trade by the Colts to acquire Trent Richardson. Clearly Indy is not going to sit still while Luck gets off to a shaky start.


Colin Kaepernick is out to prove he is better than the first pick in the 2012 draft and worthy of Harbaugh’s “love” if you will. His defense is going to play a big part in making him look like the better player in this matchup. Coming off a spanking in Seattle the whole team is mad. Indianapolis lost last week as well, and quite frankly didn’t look that great beating Oakland in the opener. They are just a good team right now, and on the road against an elite opponent don’t have enough: San Francisco 27, Indianapolis 17 (IND +11.5/under 47)


Jacksonville (0-2) @ Seattle (2-0): This has to be the biggest mismatch there is. The Jaguars have probably the worst offense in the league and Seahawks have arguably the best defense. Worse than that, Jacksonville just went to Oakland and now has to travel even farther from home. They will not be excited to play this one, and Seattle is going to be happy to cream them.


Russell Wilson wasn’t able to do much through the air against the 49ers, so I expect Pete Carroll to use this game to build up the passing game once it gets under control. Chad Henne gives the visitors a better chance than Blaine Gabbert, but that’s not saying much. This has epic blowout written all over it and I really don’t see any way around it: Seattle 34, Jacksonville 9 (SEA -18.5/over 40.5)


Chicago (2-0) @ Pittsburgh (0-2): Two storied franchises hook up and unfortunately for the Steelers this one might put a cap on their chances to compete for a playoff spot. The Bears come in confident and get their opponent on a short week following a physical loss. There is no one to run the ball for Pittsburgh, and now that Ben Roethlisberger is without his top threats in the passing game the offense can’t do much. It’s not like the defense is bad, it’s just not elite any longer.


Jay Cutler has a new head coach Marc Trestman and for the moment the offense is working. Matt Forte is awesome, and second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery teaming with new tight end Martellus Bennett gives them the edge in offensive weapons. Pride is a tough thing to measure and I know Mike Tomlin is going to have his team ready. It’s possible they pull this out, but I’m not picking it: Chicago 21, Pittsburgh 20 (PIT +3/over 40)


Oakland (1-1) @ Denver (2-0): This is a nightmare matchup for the Raiders. Peyton Manning eats them alive in general, and now he gets them without safety Tyvon Branch. Thus far Oakland’s new defense has been better than expected, but this is by far their toughest test. Denver’s offense has so many weapons it really isn’t fair. Knowshon Moreno’s resurgence is just icing on the cake.


Terrelle Pryor is going to do his thing on national television and make some highlight reel plays because that’s what he does. Darren McFadden might even reel off a big run or two to keep the visitors in it. Eventually it’s going to be all Broncos and get out of hand: Denver 34, Oakland 21 (OAK +16.5/over 48.5)




NFL Predictions 2013: Week 3 | 12 comments | Create New Account
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NFL Predictions 2013: Week 3
Authored by: dbsmall onThursday, September 19 2013

For those keeping track, I was 13-3 in straight up picks for a 22-10 season record.  Much better than the first week.


My picks for this week:

PHI - I think Philly is better on offense than KC, and neither of these teams is going to stop their opponents' running backs.



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